IT’S 2019, the year when the phoney war ends and the real one begins, the year when those who have been pretending that nothing is happening can no longer keep pretending. The Brexit can has run out of road to be kicked down.

2018 was a year when the British political establishment deluded itself, played games, indulged itself in petty distractions, anything to avoid confronting the reality that there’s no such thing as a good Brexit, there’s only the smouldering ruins of British imperial fantasies.

2018 was the last year of the British Empire of the Mind. 2019 will be the year when real life bites and the cracks in the edifice of the British state finally open into yawning chasms that can no longer be bridged by Theresa May’s inane soundbites.

One of the most striking features of recent opinion polls about Scottish independence is that a clear majority believe that independence would be better than Brexit, but support for independence right now still hovers just below the 50% mark. This tells us two things. Firstly it tells us that there is a significant percentage of the Scottish population which is pinning its hopes on Brexit not happening.

They may be right. Only a fool would attempt to predict what might happen in the confused and confusing chaos that passes for British politics next month, never mind over the course of an entire year. So much for that strength and stability that we were promised in 2014.

Secondly, and more importantly, recent opinion polls about support for independence tell us that support for the UK amongst the electorate of Scotland is conditional and fragile. This so-called Union is a hollow shell, cracked and without strong foundations.

Scotland is not a country which is in love with Britishness, no matter what online anti-independence trolls would like us to believe. A clear and definite majority of the people of Scotland do not have a strong and emotional attachment to the British state. Theresa May’s supposedly precious Union isn’t precious to everyone.

The truth is it’s not even that precious to Theresa May either. What’s precious to her is the power of her office and her desire for the British state not to lose any more face than it has done already. The problem is that it’s already lost more face than would occupy several episodes of Botched.

By the end of this month, the House of Commons ought to have voted on Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Despite the Prime Minister’s stubborn, indeed delusional, refusal to countenance any alternatives, some alternative will have to be decided upon. Yet there is no clear way out of the self-inflicted mess of Brexit.

None of the logically possible outcomes, Theresa May’s deal, no deal, cancelling Brexit, a snap General Election, or a second EU referendum enjoys the support of a majority in the Commons. Even if there were to be an early General Election, Jeremy Corbyn has made it clear that a Labour government will press ahead with the Great British delusion of a “Good Brexit”. Even if there were to be a second referendum, there’s no certainty that England wouldn’t vote to leave again. Where would that leave a Scotland that yet again voted to remain a part of the EU by a considerably larger margin than it voted to remain a part of the UK.

Throughout this entire sad and sorry chapter in the final demise of Britain’s imperial fantasies, Scotland has been marginalised, left powerless on the sidelines, watching and waiting while our fate is decided by people for whom Scotland’s interests don’t even register.

That’s the reality of this so-called Union. Brexit has exposed the truth. We’re not in a Union at all. There is nothing in the British state, no institution, no entrenched constitutional provision, which can protect Scotland from the delusions of English nationalism. Meanwhile the Irish Republic negotiates with Westminster from a position of strength, able to set the terms and determine the agenda.

Even the most dedicated defenders of all that is red, white and blue can feel it. They are becoming increasingly strident, increasingly shrill, in their insistence that there must not be another Scottish independence referendum.

But what they’re not able to do is to demonstrate any realistic and feasible way in which a Scotland within the UK is able to defend itself from the malignities of English nationalist nostalgia for a lost empire. They’re not able to lay out any plausible mechanisms which would ensure that Scotland has a voice at the top levels of the British state and government. A voice that is, other than David Mundell who hasn’t resigned yet.

For too long, Scots have comforted themselves with the myth of the Union, just as English nationalists comforted themselves with the myth of Britsh exceptionalism and the fantasy of the UK’s great power status. 2019 will see both those myths exposed for the charades that they really are. This is going to be a year of great changes.